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    ADB’s $ 200m education development program ends in Feb Featured

    November 18, 2018

    Introducing the technology stream for the GCE Advanced Level examination is one of the key components of the Education Sector Development Program (ESDP) of the Ministry of Education which was launched in 2013. EDSP is implemented through the nine provincial education departments, Department of Educational Publications and the Department of Examinations, and is the first Result Based Lending (RBL) program of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Sri Lanka.

    Under the program costing US$ 200 million, the Technology stream for the GCE Advanced Level was introduced, while 250 1C schools (to include at least one school per Divisional Secretariat division) in the island were upgraded to 1AB (schools offering all streams for the GCE Advanced Level) status, teacher training was developed, leadership improved, school management strengthened as well as the introduction of performance based financing to provinces. By last month, the program had achieved 28 out of the 32 disbursement linked results and the project would end in February next year.

    Figures provided by the Ministry of Education also showed that there was an increase in the number of students who opted to follow the Technology stream for the GCE Advanced Level. In 2015 when technology was introduced only 13,452 students had taken the challenge of following the new stream while 18800 students had enrolled in 2017. Students who select technology have the choice of either following Engineering Technology (ET) or Bio System Technology (BST) and offer Engineering Technology, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Science for Technology (ST) and Bio Science Technology (BST) as subjects for the Advanced Level examination.

    “At present, 25% of the marks is for practical projects and it would be increased to 40% in the future,” said Head of the Education Sector Development Program, Rathnayaka Karunasiri.

    “We would have had to face many problems if the Asian Development Bank did not support the initiative to introduce technology for the GCE Advanced Level,” said Secretary to the Ministry of Education Sunil Hettiarachchi at the time.

    “As the loan scheme is extremely flexible and is Result Based Lending (RBL) we have the freedom to set our own targets and funds would be released only if we achieve them,” he added.

    “For example, if we agree to increase the number of students following the science stream to 25% we would not be eligible even if it was 24.9%. In simpler terms we are tied down by our commitment.” He said that the universities had opposed the introduction of the technology stream had established seven technological faculties and confer first degrees in technology.

    “It is the Ministry of Education that has to present the Education Sector Development Framework Program (ESDFP) and the ADB and the World Bank has agreed to support it. In this instance the ESDFP was US$4.9 billion of which the ADB has agreed to give US$ 200 million and the disbursement would be achieving the key results” said Social Development Officer of the Asian Development Bank’s Sri Lanka mission who is in charge of coordinating the program Herathbanda Jayasundera.

    Increasing the performance at the GCE Ordinary Level and GCE Advanced Level was one such goal and statistics made available by the Ministry of Education showed that there has been a gradual increase in the pass rate each year.

    “We make an independent evaluation to see if the facts and figures are correct and if the result has been actually achieved,” Jayasundera said.

    Narandeniya Central is a mixed 1AB secondary school situated in Kamburupitiya in the Matara District and has 2,340 students on roll and a teaching staff of 108. Of the 795 students enrolled to the GCE Advanced Level more than a third had opted to follow a course of studies in the technological stream which was introduced to the school curriculum in 2013.

    Due to popularity, Innovativeness was the final selection criteria

    Narandeniya Central College was one of the schools that introduced the technological stream for the GCE Advanced Level when it was introduced and has been able to make remarkable progress as well as achieve commendable results.

    “Due to the high demand to enroll for the GCE Advanced Level Technological stream of study we were compelled to take the applicants innovativeness into consideration as the ultimate selection criteria,” said Principal of Narandeniya Central College, D. L. Priyadarshana, outlining the school’s achievements, a few days ago.

    The demand to follow the technology field at the GCE Advanced Level at Narandeniya Central was due to the high percentage of passes gained for Technology subjects, It was between 82% and 93% at the 2017 GCE Advanced Level which has resulted in the increase of the number of students qualifying for admittance to Universities and other institutions of higher education as well as empowering students who followed the stream to be able to venture into their own enterprise.

    It was shown that a high percentage of students who had followed the technology stream at Narandeniya CC had gained admission to universities or other institutes of higher learning while others had ventured into starting their own enterprises. The pathways selected by students who sat the GCE Advanced Level from the technological stream2015, 2016 and 2017 are given below.

    Among the future plans proposed for students following the technology field at Narandeniya Central are to give them more opportunities to make the theoretical knowledge they gain to be put into practice inasmuch as to apply the knowledge to solve problems that crop up in day to day life.

    The school conducts open air classes to motivate the younger students to follow the technology stream while the school boasts of a greenhouse, an eco friendly farm, a three storey technology faculty with well equipped laboratory facilities and workshops where students get an opportunity to work in groups and put theory into practice with the guidance of their teachers.

    Ishan Madhushanka and Prabodha Nishadhi were two among the many who excelled at the GCE Advanced Level last year. Ishan was ranked 2nd in the district while Prabodha was ranked 3rd

    Prabodha Nishadhi, now 20, offered Agriculture, Bio Systems Technology and Engineering Science Technology for the GCE Advanced Level examination and was rewarded with A passes in the first two subjects and a C pass for the latter.

    She has gained admission to study Bio Systems Technology at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

    “I selected the technology field because I love nature and the course content contained more practical work outdoors compared to the normal science stream which is mostly theory,” she said.

    “In addition I have gained sufficient general knowledge about ICT and Engineering Technology and am capable of meeting any challenge,” she said.

    “Prabodha had her primary education at the Kirinda Junior School and obtained 130 marks at the grade five scholarship examination” said her mother, Ganesha Jayamali. Prabodha gained admission to Matara Central College where she sat her GCE Ordinary Level and secured 3 As, 5 Bs and a C after which she opted to seek admission to Narandeniya Central College.

    “She loves nature so much that she has prevented us from felling any trees on our premises and it is she who does most of the maintenance work at home,” she said.

    Sanduni Muthumali obtained an A (Agriculture) a B (Bio Systems Technology) and a C (Science for Technology) at the GCE Advanced Level examination in 2016 and was ranked 5th in the district. She is following a degree course in Bio System Technology at the University of Colombo.

    “My parents did not influence me in any way. I took up the challenge and succeeded,” she said.

    In the past five decades the ADB has provided US$12.5 billion in loans and grants to the education sector to assist its developing member countries achieve the goal of education for all and has agreed to provide another US$ 200 million to the Ministry of Education to support ESDP 2.

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